The Styling Librarian

In my opinion, books are the best accessory.

Styling Librarian: #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I’m still playing catchup with books I enjoyed over the summer and this week I’m sharing a few powerful books I treasured!

This past week I celebrated:

I had a graphic novel bonanza and celebrated three FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL, FABULOUS new graphic novels, all recommended! See link for more on my post:

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Squish – Fear the Amoeba #6 by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

Comics Squad Recess! By Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm, Dav Pilkey, Raina Telgemeier & Dave Roman, Dan Santat, Ursula Vernon, Eric Wight, and Gene Luen Yang

Plus I also shared a serious, powerful graphic novel:

Hidden by Loie Dauvillier, Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo

Families Around the World by Margriet Ruurs


Miss Fatty Cat’s Revenge by Meg Welch Dendler

Now, on to my shares presently:

Salt – A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost – Wow. Powerful story. As I would expect from Helen Frost. She’s simply brilliant. Appreciated reading from two perspectives in this verse novel and found the friendship that overrode war consequences gave me an overriding feeling of hope. Goodreads Summary: “Anikwa and James, twelve years old in 1812, spend their days fishing, trapping, and exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. To Anikwa and his family, members of the Miami tribe, this land has been home for centuries. As traders, James’s family has ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now tensions are rising—the British and American armies prepare to meet at Fort Wayne for a crucial battle, and Native Americans from surrounding tribes gather in Kekionga to protect their homeland. After trading stops and precious commodities, like salt, are withheld, the fort comes under siege, and war ravages the land. James and Anikwa, like everyone around them, must decide where their deepest loyalties lie. Can their families—and their friendship—survive?”

Violet Mackerel’s Personal Space by Anna Branford, illustrated by Elanna Allen – loved this little early chapter book just as much as the rest of this lovely series. Violet is a character that I just adore visiting with and seeing how she is doing. Finding personal space and the struggle of independence is an important topic. I feel that some children don’t get enough independent time and also enough special time to themselves. Violet’s big brother makes the choice to go stay in a tent to find his own space and his mom’s reaction to the situation is lovely. Sure, this is a book centered around Violet’s mom getting married to a man introduced in the first book, who feels like part of the family, and how the family has to move to a new house since they’re expanding in size, but Violet’s theories and reflections are perfect for her age but so wise simultaneously… Just love this series. Goodreads Summary: “Violet Mackerel has some good news and some not-so-good news. The good news is about Mum and Vincent! The not-so-good news is that they have to move house. Violet is trying to be brave, but sometimes leaving your personal space can be tricky.”

The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos – High School – Wow. Just loved every minute of this book. Was lost all day, finished in a day. Just couldn’t stop reading. Highly recommended. Sort of a high school wonder with the grit and tough situations that bullying can excalate to. Learning who you are and how to be a good friend and simultaneously speak up for yourself… forming a band and celebrating the music… breaking away from parent expectations and advancing expectations of your own… that’s what stood out for me… Loved this… Goodreads Summary: “A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock ‘n’ roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world…even if you carry scars inside and out.
In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay–help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores–Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.
The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.
The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry’s description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he’s looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.”

Henry’s Hand by Ross MacDonald – Saw this book and was quite curious about what in the world was happening! A hand running away from a Frankenstein! What in the world was going on? Classic friendship story in quite the unlikely place! Took a little bit of suspending of reality beyond more than I normally do… but my son and I both enjoyed the read aloud. Goodreads Summary: “Henry’s Hand is a story about the friendship between Henry, a giant, and his right hand. You see, Henry sometimes has trouble keeping track of his body parts—everything from his ears to one of his legs can fall off. Once, his eye even rolled under the couch and wouldn’t come out until bedtime. But with help from Hand, Henry keeps himself together. In fact, Henry and Hand are the best of friends . . . that is, until Henry takes Hand for granted, pushes him too far, and Hand runs away.”

Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney – Cute simple approach to bullying through the classic rhyming that Anna Dewdney is popular for… not my favorite Llama Llama book but fun to return to the world… Think the bully issue was wrapped up too quick… Goodreads Summary: “Llama Llama likes to sing.
Gilroy laughs at everything.
Llama sings out just the same.
Gilroy says a not-nice name.
Teacher has some things to say:
calling names is not OK.
Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?”

Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos, illustrations by Joy Ang – What a hilarious book. Enjoyed the illustrations especially. Some days are tough with babies, they act terribly… (so do adults sometimes) so this was a special little book that illustrated both sides of the situation when a mustached child thinks he’s doing everything just right but then one day when his mustache looks “evil” he experiences a change of action and decides to be terrible, turn into a thief and many more activities… Hilarity ensues. Goodreads Summary: “When Baby Billy is born with a mustache, his family takes it in stride. They are reassured when he nobly saves the day in imaginary-play sessions as a cowboy or cop and his mustache looks good-guy great. But as time passes, their worst fears are confirmed when little Billy’s mustache starts to curl up at the ends in a suspiciously villainous fashion. Sure enough, “Billy’s disreputable mustache led him into a life of dreadful crime.””

Gooney Bird and All Her Charms by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Middy Thomas – Lois Lowry is one of the few who can make me chortle and learn about body systems at the same time… I loved this book. Think it would fit well with my Y4 class study of body systems… might inspire the kids! Fabulous mystery that was mingled into the story with a nemesis that I’m hoping students will understand and find humorous… Plus it was quite cute how a charm bracelet connected throughout the book… just love Lois Lowry’s creations. Goodreads Summary: ““It’s March!” Mrs. Pidgeon said as she wrote the day’s date on the chalkboard. “In like a lion, out like a lamb!” The morning bell has rung at Watertower Elementary School, and it’s time for Mrs. Pidgeon’s class to turn to page 52 in their science books to learn about one of the most spectacular scientific subjects of all—the human body! As usual, Gooney Bird has a special plan to make learning more fun. But what on earth is in that scary-looking box that her uncle, Dr. Oglethorpe, has brought to the second grade? And what does it have to do with the charms on Gooney’s jingling silver bracelet? It looks as if another special story is in the works!”

The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan – What a beautiful, peaceful book that celebrates not only the outdoors but also family and music. Just loved reading another Patricia MacLachlan book. So touching to read about how a child accepts that everyone has their own personal truth that doesn’t have to be believed by others, just them. Especially enjoyed how truths were revealed in the book as well. Beautiful. Goodreads Summary: “The Truth of Me tells the story of Robbie, who loves spending time with his grandmother Maddy. Robbie loves the stories Maddy tells, and also how wild animals trust her enough to come right up to her. But Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life–his parents don’t always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right.”

Einstein The Class Hamster by Janet Tashjian, illustrated by Jake Tashjian – Well, this is one hilarious book with a main character, Einstein, who would do anything to host a show called ANSWER… THAT QUESTION! And help students learn new information… because he is from a long line of class hamsters and is packed with cool facts. I enjoyed learning random facts throughout. My one little regret is that at the end of the book, there are interesting website “learn more” links shared but they are so ridiculously long, I can’t imagine myself or a student typing them into their computer, wish the publisher had shortened them. Goodreads Summary: “Einstein the class hamster is from a long line of class hamsters. He knows lots of cool facts about science, art, and history—maybe even more than their sleepy teacher, Ms. Moreno. The class has a chance to compete in a trivia game show contest. But how can they get ready for the contest if Ms. Moreno keeps taking naps instead of teaching? More important, how can Einstein help the class prepare for the contest when the only kid who can hear him is Ned?”

Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, illustrated by Lisa Brown – One little regret I have is while I was visiting Portland, Oregon, I couldn’t split myself in two. I enjoyed a wonderful, special dinner with friends when the illustrator Lisa Brown was autographing books across town… Lovely beautiful book which has a thoughtful girl dealing with her parents separating and expressing herself through art and communication. Lovely, powerful book. Especially appreciated the little brother’s character in the story. Goodreads Summary: “Emily wants to be an artist. She likes painting and loves the way artists like Pablo Picasso mixed things up.Emily’s life is a little mixed up right now. Her dad doesn’t live at home anymore, and it feels like everything around her is changing. “When Picasso was sad for a while,” says Emily, “he only painted in blue. And now I am in my blue period.” It might last quite some time.”

The Hole by Oyvind Torseter – Almost wordless. Mostly like a graphic novel. Fascinating. Different. Enjoyed how a hole can be quite the entertaining fixture throughout a book. Goodreads Summary: “The protagonist of The Hole has discovered a hole in his apartment and tries to find an explanation for it. He seeks expert advice. But not everything can be explained. Perhaps he’ll just have to accept that the hole is there? The Hole has simple, expressive drawings created by pen and computer, and there’s a hole punched right through the book, so it really exists, even if it can’t be explained.”

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith – Science Fiction, YA 11th grade and up – This book certainly packed a punch. Not what I was expecting, which was good. He set it up as a perfect YA book… parents conveniently disappear, kids are left to their own devices, love story with self discovery, and friends accidentally activate the end of the world and learn a little about the power to reverse it…
Appreciated a different type of writing style. I came across my favorite quote that made me think that perhaps the author received this comment about his writing… it is quite a bit how he tells this history of the end of the world…:
My favorite quote: “I love how you tell stories. I love how, whenever you tell me a story, you go backwards and forwards and tell me everything else that could possibly be happening in every direction, like an explosion. Like a flower blooming.” Goodreads Summary: “Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa. To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.”

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.




18 comments on “Styling Librarian: #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

  1. I may end up reading the graphic novels you mentioned! Of course, I enjoyed Comics Squad Recess! I couldn’t really get into The Scar Boys but I admit I didn’t really give it much of a chance!

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 18, 2014

      The Scar Boys was one that a friend recommended so I persisted… and was quite glad, interesting.

  2. Linda Baie
    August 18, 2014

    So many good ones, Debbie! I will look for The Scar Boys, glad to know about it. I have Grasshopper Jungle & The Truth of Me, but haven’t read them yet. Thanks also for those for younger kids-I need to know about them too! Loved Hidden and Salt-great books!

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 18, 2014

      🙂 Thanks… I am haunted still by Grasshopper Jungle… seriously. Scar Boys was quite memorable. Just love Helen Frost’s creations! Happy reading this week!

  3. Wendy Chaulk
    August 18, 2014

    I am trying to read more graphic novels so I really appreciate your reviews this week. Can’t wait to read them!

  4. Adrienne Gear
    August 18, 2014

    WOW! This is such an extensive reading list! I am excited to check out some of your graphic novel suggestions – Sisters appeals to me. I am also a huge fan of Patricia MacLauchlan so I’m excited to read The Truth of Me. Salt and Scar Boys look amazing! Also love the idea of the Violet Mackerel series – this would be perfect for the age group I’m teaching this year! Thanks for ALL these titles!

  5. carriegelson
    August 19, 2014

    I really like the Violet Mackerel stories too. My students seem to really enjoy them. I am also a huge fan of Gooney Bird – what a character! Emily’s Blue Period is one of my favourite picture books this year. So well done. You have a great book list this week. I really enjoyed reading all of your comments.

  6. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum)
    August 19, 2014

    I can’t wait to read Sisters. I have been holding out because I want to read it in all its full-color glory.

    Isn’t Grasshopper Jungle amazing? Definitely not a book I would have picked up on my own but with all the buzz about it, I’m glad I did.

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 19, 2014

      You’ll love Sisters, yes, full color glory will be brilliant. Yes, Grasshopper Jungle was amazing… I’m happy I prioritized reading it as well.

  7. bevbaird
    August 19, 2014

    Loved the variety of books you shared! Adding lots to my ever growing list!

  8. Ricki Ginsberg
    August 19, 2014

    Oh my goodness, Debbie! You are on a roll! There are so many great titles here. I didn’t know about the LLAMA LLAMA book you posted, so thank you for sharing. Hidden was one of my favorites this year, so I am glad to see you thought it was as powerful as I did. I hope next week is as terrific for you!

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 19, 2014

      🙂 Non stop books! 🙂 Hidden was pretty darn brilliant. Hope you have a great week as well!

  9. Kellee Moye (@kelleemoye)
    August 19, 2014

    Great shares this week! Sisters and Comics Squad are wonderful as I assume the newest Squish is.

    I cannot wait to read Grasshopper Jungle. It is one that I know I am going to devour. Thank you for sharing the PBs, too. I hadn’t heard of them. I specifically want to read Salt and Hidden as well–they both seem important.

    Happy reading this week! 🙂

  10. Myra GB
    August 19, 2014

    You’ve done a whole LOT of reading, Debbie. Love going through your stack here. I will be featuring Hidden soon for our current reading theme. I’ve read Squish 1-3 and will be featuring that as well for our upcoming reading theme (on science fiction) – which reminds me that I have to get cracking on my copy of Grasshopper Jungle soonest. Really looking forward to that. 🙂

    • The Styling Librarian
      August 19, 2014

      Loads of reading… 🙂 Enjoy Grasshopper Jungle when you get to it, wouldn’t read at night though… kept me up…

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